Tue, 26 Sep 2000

RI needs more international experience, says Arie Sudewo

JAKARTA (JP): Psychological barriers and a lack of international experience have been blamed for Indonesia's poor performance at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Indonesia chef de mission Arie Sudewo said during a media teleconference on Monday the national athletes "were mentally unready to challenge world-class rivals", despite the money spent by the Indonesian Sports Council (KONI) to fund their overseas training prior to the Games.

He said psychological obstacles had even prevented some athletes from equaling, not to mention improving on, their personal bests.

"Based on our latest evaluation on the athletes' performances, we conclude that they could not reach or improve their personal bests because they might have been too nervous when competing against world-class athletes," Arie said from Sydney.

Sprinter John Murray is one such example, according to Arie. The country's hope in the men's 100 meters finished sixth in his heat, which was won by world champion and eventual gold medalist Maurice Greene of the United States.

Murray, whose best time of 10.23 was set in the National Games in June in Surabaya, East Java, managed only to clock a time of 10.68, well off Greene's semifinal qualifying time of 10.31.

Arie also said nontechnical problems affected women's diver Shenny Ratna Amelia, who finished last in the preliminary round of 10m platform event.

Smarting from the unexpected outcome, Arie said giving athletes more opportunities to compete in international events would help the athletes improve.

Indonesia brought 48 athletes, 23 coaches and 19 officials to the quadrennial event. It has so far collected one gold medal, three silvers and two bronzes from badminton and weightlifting.

The country won two golds in the Barcelona Games in 1992 and a gold, a silver and two bronzes four years later in Atlanta.

Athletes who went out in the preliminaries and the first round of competition in this year's Games included women's archer Hamdiah, boxer Hermansen Ballo, men's table tennis players Anton Suseno and Ismu Harinto, men's judoka Krisna Bayu, women's judoka Aprilia Marzuki, women's tennis players Wynne Prakusya and Yayuk Basuki, men's sprinter Yanes Raubaba and Erwin Heru Susanto, women's sprinter Irene Truitje Joseph and swimmers Richard Sam Bera, Felix Christiadi Sutanto and his twin brother Albert, Elsa Manora Nasution and brother Muhammad Akbar Nasution and Steven Chandra.

KONI provided Rp 6.9 billion to fund the national training center for the Olympics. It also received financial support from the government and sponsorships from several companies, including McDonald's Indonesia, Samsung and PT Telekomunikasi Seluler Indonesia.

Arie said he had asked all the athletes who were no longer competing to watch the rest of the matches in their respective disciplines in order to enrich their knowledge about their sports and to improve their technique. (ivy)